Gila monster confiscated by Mesa officers during DUI stop

Mesa police officer took a Gila monster after a DUI stop late Sunday night.
Mesa police officer took a Gila monster after a DUI stop late Sunday night.(Mesa Police Department)
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 2:46 PM MST
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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Mesa police officers got quite the surprise during a traffic stop over the weekend when they found a dangerous reptile. Officers were called out to a store near Southern Avenue and Signal Butte Road after someone said that a man was sleeping behind a running vehicle and was mumbling and shouting late Sunday night. Police say they woke the man up, identified as 37-year-old Brandon Denney, to conduct a field sobriety test when officers noticed a Gila monster poking out his head from the car.

Denney said he had run over the animal with his car and picked it up to see if it got hurt. Police say the reptile had no signs of injuries. Denney was arrested on accusations of drunk driving and outstanding felony warrants at the scene. Two warrants were from California for kidnapping, and a third was for grand theft of a vehicle in Nevada. Detectives also searched his car, where they found cocaine, meth, fentanyl and other drugs.

Officers turned over the Gila monster to the Arizona Game and Fish Department to launch an investigation on whether charges should be filed for Denney in connection to having the reptile. It is illegal to own or sell a Gila monster in Arizona without a permit.